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Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.

Richard Feynman

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Pudong from the Bund

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Education for the Rest of Us

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Education in the public school systems frequently undergoes changes accompanied by much jargon which can be confusing. The Common Core of learning was just such a change, not because of poor intent, but because of poor execution. Many parents could not relate to the education being given to their children. And parental support is one of the most important factors in a student’s education. Any change must have the support of parents.

The latest innovation in public school education is Personalized Learning, with various meanings attached to that term. Basically, such teaching requires fitting instruction to each student’s needs while maintaining standard objectives like reading, writing and arithmetic (remember science). Because students learn at different rates, instruction cannot be uniform, one size fits all as it is today. Making learning specific to each student requires more interaction with teachers, but the rewards are more student involvement. And personalized learning is now the direction of public education in Region 1. It is being implemented in its schools at various rates. Why is it important to understand this change?

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Out From Under

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This week, the All Boards Chairs (ABC) committee of Region 1 met for the final time in this school year. Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain reported on regionalization efforts, both ongoing and desired. She initiated a request from the Principals of the schools in Region 1 for a coordinator for English Language Learners. Over the whole region, 25 students need assistance because they cannot operate in English. She has also set up a meeting of the network coordinators in each school to look for commonalities; she suggested this was a good starting point for reducing costs. And she reported on the start of a region-wide mentoring system for new teachers. The ABC committee then, in executive session, negotiated a contract for Dr. Pamela Vogel to start as Superintendent on July 1, 2017 when Chamberlain retires.

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Musical Chairs

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Last week, the Region 1 Board of Education held its final meeting of the school year. It was overshadowed by the referendum on the renovation of Housatonic Valley Regional High School. Much of the meeting concerned field trips by high school students, with senior Abigail LaFontan describing the first civics field trip to Washington, DC. End of the year awards were also recognized, with graduation set for June 14, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.. However, the Board did enter into the first serious discussion of the sports program with Athletic Director Anne Macneil. They approved the use of Architects, Jacunski Humes, for the renovation project contingent on its approval (it was). They accepted three teacher resignations, approved one new teacher hire, and gave the Superintendent permission to finish the required hires for the following school year. The summary results of the SATs taken by the juniors were not yet available from the state. And they approved roof repair for the section of roof where the new solar panels will be mounted.

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Building Project Soars

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The results of the referendum for the building project at Housatonic Valley Regional High School were a resounding success. The final vote in all six towns was 505-160 in favor of the project, with more voters showing up than the Region had for the budget referendum. The Region 1 Board of Education, in anticipation of this vote, approved the proposal of Jacunski and Humes, Architect, so the final drawing and specifications can start immediately.  The actual work will start at the beginning of next summer.  Congratulations to the Science department for hanging on this long.

Town Yes No Total
Canaan 47 30 77
Cornwall 82 22 104
Kent 74 31 105
North Canaan 91 33 124
Salisbury 142 23 165
Sharon 69 21 90
Totals 505 160 665
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Referendum for Housatonic Building Project

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Please vote in the referendum for the building project at Housatonic Valley Regional High School. The Region One Board of Education voted to authorize up to $5.76 million for the proposed Renovation and Code project. The project will rebuild the science classrooms from their 1960s design, rebuild the locker rooms by the gym, replace a boiler, reroof a section of the school, and replace some underground tanks. The approval represents the total amount required to be authorized. The amount to be borrowed would be defrayed by a school construction grant from the State of Connecticut estimated to be approximately $1.4 million. The district would borrow approximately $4.3 million over a 20-year repayment period. Additional details about the scope of work and cost of the project can be found on the district’s website. The district wide referendum for the proposed project and associated bond issue will occur on Tuesday, June 7, 2016, from 6:00 a.m. through 8:00 p.m.

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Dr. Pam Vogel To Be 14th Superintendent in Region 1

Region 1 Assistant Superintendent Pam Vogel

Region 1 Assistant Superintendent Pam Vogel

The All Board Chairs Committee of Region One (ABC) is pleased to announce that the seven school districts that comprise the region have voted to appoint Dr. Pamela Vogel as their next Superintendent beginning July 1, 2017. Dr. Vogel will serve as the 14th Superintendent of Region One since William Teague took office in 1939 and will take over at a time of unique challenges facing our communities and the field of education. Dr. Vogel will continue in her capacity as Assistant Superintendent through June of 2017.

The appointment of Dr. Vogel marks the first hire made by the ABC Committee under the Joint Employment Agreement for the Superintendent of Schools, signed in 2015 by the boards of education of the towns of Canaan, Cornwall, Kent, North Canaan, Salisbury and Sharon, as well as Regional School District No. 1. Last week the ABC Committee voted unanimously to name Dr. Vogel as the finalist for the superintendent position.

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The Best Entertainment

Rachal Gall and friend at the Kent Farmer's Market

Rachal Gall and friend at the Kent Farmer’s Market

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Evolving Leadership

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Tuesday evening, the All Boards Chairs (ABC) committee finished their search for a candidate to replace Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain in 2017. After numerous non-meetings to discuss possibilities, they moved that the current Assistant Superintendent Pam Vogel be recommended to the seven Boards of Education as the new Superintendent. Prior to that motion, they held a short but interesting meeting. They noted that the Freedom of Information complaint by Falls Village First Selectman Pat Mechare was decided unanimously in their favor by the full state Commission. They discussed the loss of Educational Cost Sharing (ECS) monies from the State of Connecticut, as well as the loss of transportation monies in some towns. And they engaged in the first serious statements about staff changes due to declining enrollment.

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Finalist for Superintendent of Schools

Region 1 Assistant Superintendent Pam Vogel

Region 1 Assistant Superintendent Pam Vogel

Chairman Claude Rolo, All Boards Chairs committee

The All Boards Chair (ABC) Committee, representing the boards of education of Canaan, Kent, North Canaan, Salisbury, Sharon, Cornwall and Region 1, is delighted to submit Dr. Pamela Kay Vogel as the finalist for the position of Superintendent of Schools for Region 1.

Dr. Vogel joined Region 1 last year, after an extensive and competitive search, to fill the role of assistant superintendent. In her 11 months here, she has already made great strides in advancing education in the schools that make up the region.

“Selecting Dr. Vogel to be our next Superintendent is a vital decision for our schools and our communities. Under her leadership, our administrators and teachers will further their efforts to provide our children with the 21st century skills that are essential in today’s learning environment,” said Claude Rolo, Chair of the ABC Committee.

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